Marine Biology

, Volume 151, Issue 3, pp 1009–1020 | Cite as

The reproductive cycle of Scolelepis goodbodyi (Polychaeta, Spionidae)

  • Fábio Sá  MacCord
  • A. Cecília Z. AmaralEmail author
Research Article


The aim of this study was to examine the reproductive and gametogenic cycle of the spionid polychaete Scolelepis goodbodyi (Jones). Every 15 days, in the upper level of the intertidal zone on Barequeçaba Beach in southeastern Brazil, a 100 m2 area was delimited and within it three points were selected and sampled using a core sampler 0.01 m2 in area × 0.2 m long. Each sample was divided into three sub-samples: surface (2 cm) and middle (8 cm), which were sieved through 0.5, 0.25 and 0.125 mm mesh sieves; and lower (10 cm), sieved through 1.0 and 0.5 mm mesh sieves. Males, females and undetermined individuals were separated, and the width of the third setiger was measured. The gonadal development of each individual was classified based on external features of the gametogenic setigers. Ten to 20 adults from each sampling period were classified according to their gonadal development stage and then analyzed histologically for gametogenic studies, for comparison with the former classification. Some of the ripe females were used for fecundity evaluation. The diameters of the oocytes were measured prior to spawning. Eight hundred and twenty-eight females (29.70%), 848 males (30.42%) and 1,112 undetermined individuals (39.89%) were analyzed. The sex ratio did not differ significantly from unity (χ2 = 0.24; df = 1; P < 0.05). Males and females were more abundant in May 2002 (ca. 80%) and between November 2002 and May 2003 (between 77 and 90%); the proportion of undetermined individuals did not represent recruitment alone, but also a high incidence of adults with recovering gonads. Fecundity varied from 134 oocytes in a 0.54 mm W3 individual to 289 oocytes in a 0.4 mm W3 individual, with a mean of 220 (SD = 57) oocytes per female and 19 (SD = 5) oocytes per gametogenic setiger. Oocytes were ellipsoid, and ranged in size from 150 × 80 (to 220 × 120 μm (mean ± SD = 173 × 113 ± 15 × 11 μm). Neither a well-defined gametogenic cycle nor synchrony in the reproductive period was observed, because many gonadal development stages occurred in each month. Nevertheless, peaks of maturity were observed between October–December 2002 and April–May 2003.


Polychaete Reproductive Period Stage Versus Mature Oocyte Ovigerous Female 
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This work was supported by the State of São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP), through the BIOTA/FAPESP—Virtual Institute of Biodiversity Program (, which awarded a doctoral studentship (FAPESP proc. 01/13353-1) to F. S. MacCord, and the National Counsel of Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq proc. 300254/03-2). The authors thank MSc Leonardo Yokoyama for his assistance in histological procedures, the Departamento de Histologia and Departamento de Zoologia of the Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP) and the Centro de Biologia Marinha (CEBIMar-USP) for laboratory and field support, and V. Radashevsky for identifying the species of Scolelepis and three anonymous referees for suggestions. J. W. Reid revised the English text.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departamento de Zoologia, Instituto de BiociênciasUniversidade de São Paulo (USP)São PauloBrazil
  2. 2.Departamento de Zoologia, Instituto de BiologiaUniversidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP)São PauloBrazil

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